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Reston Hospital Center
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Pediatric Emergency Room
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Talking to Your Doctor About Insomnia

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with insomnia. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you do not forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
  • What causes insomnia?
  • How do I know if I have insomnia?
  • Am I currently taking any medication that puts me at higher risk for developing insomnia?
  • How can I prevent insomnia?
  • How do I know if I’m getting enough good or restorative sleep?
  • How do I best treat insomnia?
  • Where can I go to get help with psychological problems?
  • Who can help me learn to reduce stress?
  • What medications are available to help me?
    • What are the benefits/side effects of these medications?
    • Will these medications interact with other medications, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements I am already taking for other conditions?
  • Are there any complementary or alternative therapies that might help me?
  • Is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) a good treatment option for me?
  • Should I engage in exercise?
    • What kind of exercise is best?
    • How often should I exercise?
    • How do I get started with an exercise program?
    • Should I exercise in the morning or at night?
  • Are there any alternatives to the medications I am presently taking that would be less likely to cause insomnia?
  • Is there something I can do to my bedroom to make it more conducive to sleep?
  • Are there activities I should avoid that could disturb my sleep?
  • Should I stop drinking alcohol or caffeine?
  • How can I find help to quit smoking?
  • If I lost weight, would my sleep improve?
  • Is it okay for me to take a nap during the day?
  • How do I know that my prevention or treatment program is effective?
  • Will I be able to cure my insomnia?
  • Will it come back? If so, what should I do?

Revision Information

  • Insomnia in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 27, 2016. Accessed March 2, 2016.

  • Jacobs GD, Pace-Schott EF, Stckgold R, Otto MW. Cognitive behavior therapy and pharmacotherapy for insomnia: a randomized controlled trial and direct comparison. Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(17):1888-1896.

  • What is insomnia? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/inso. Updated December 13, 2011. Accessed March 2, 2016.